Up Helly Aa is Shetland's famous fire festival, celebrating the Islands Norse Heritage, on the last Tuesday of January. A Viking longboat is built and set alight in the centre of Lerwick before a night of festivities begin!
I traveled with Haggis Adventures to the remote Shetland Islands, northeast of Scotland, to experience Up Helly Aa, the Viking Fire Festival held in Shetland every January. This may have been my best trip…EVER.
"Locals dressed in costume are silhouetted against a burning replica Viking galley in Lerwick during the Up Helly Aa Festival on the Island of Shetland in Scotland January 28, 2003. The Up Helly Aa Festival, introduced by men returning from the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. Participants drag the replica Viking galley through the streets of Lerwick to a designated point where it is ceremonially burnt."
Up Helly-Aa: the Fire Festival (Shetland Islands) - A tribute to the islands' Viking Past, Up Helly-Aa ("End of the Holy Days"), the fire festivals are held in Shetland annually in the middle of winter to mark the end of the yule season. The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers, and culminates with the burning of a 32-ft. replica of a Viking longship.